Monday, 29 October 2012

PIA News Dispatch - Monday, October 29, 2012

President Aquino to attend the 9th Asia-Europe Meeting in Laos from November 5 to 6
 President Benigno S. Aquino III will attend the 9th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM 9) that will be held in Vientiane, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) from November 5 to 6, the Department of Foreign Affairs said on Monday.

 In a briefing held in Malacañang, DFA Assistant Secretary for European Affairs Elizabeth Buensuceso said the President’s attendance to the ASEM 9, his first since assuming Office, “signals the Philippines’ renewed focus on Europe and reaffirms the importance of the region as an economic and political partner."

 She said President Aquino is expected to “exchange views with counterparts from the two regions on the Eurozone crisis, trade and investment facilitation, energy and food security, disaster management, counter-terrorism, migration, and regional issues” during the two-day Summit.

 According to the DFA official, Europe is the Philippines’ third largest trade partner after North America and Asia with trade pegged at $13-billion for about 12 percent of Philippine total trade to the world in 2011.

 She added that P33.3-billion of investments also came from the European Union during the same period, primarily from the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, France and Germany.

 Aside from this, Buensuceso said, the President will showcase to his counterparts the various reforms implemented to rid the government of corruption and improve the lives of the Filipino people.

 “The President will also highlight the country’s accomplishments in good governance and inclusive growth, while calling for an enhanced Asia-Europe economic partnership in the face of global economic and financial uncertainties,” Buensuceso said.

 “He will also underscore the importance of upholding the rights of migrant workers, especially at this time of socio-economic difficulties in a number of host countries in Europe,” she added.

 As of 2011, there are 746,701 Filipinos living and working in Europe.

 The Asia-Europe Meeting is a dialogue process started in 1996 with the main objective of forging a comprehensive partnership between Asia and Europe. It is currently composed of 48 partners – all 10 ASEAN countries, 9 other Asian countries, the 27 member-states of the European Union, the European Commission and the ASEAN Secretariat.

 The ASEM is the only forum where Europe and Asia engage one another at the highest levels of government to discuss international issues of common concern and to formulate mutually beneficial cooperation on region-to-region basis.

 This year’s theme is “Friends for Peace, Partners for Prosperity.” PND (rck)

President Aquino to hold  bilateral meetings at the sidelines of the 9th Asia-Europe meeting in Vientiane, Lao People's Democratic republic in November
 President Benigno S. Aquino III will hold bilateral talks with seven European countries at the sidelines of the 9th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM9) that will be held in Vientiane, Lao People’s Democratic Republic from November 5 to 6, the Department of Foreign Affairs said on Monday.

 In a press briefing, DFA Assistant Secretary for European Affairs Elizabeth Buensuceso said the President will be holding bilateral meetings with his counterparts from the European Council, European Commission, Italy, Norway, Poland and Switzerland.

 She said that the topics to be discussed between the President and his counterparts from Europe will cover maritime training, defense, finance, disaster risk reduction and management, economic cooperation and education.

 Aside from this, Buensuceso said, the President will also “touch base” with the Filipino community in Laos numbering around 300.

 The Asia-Europe Meeting is a dialogue process started in 1996 with the main objective of forging a comprehensive partnership between Asia and Europe. It is currently composed of 48 partners – all 10 ASEAN countries, 9 other Asian countries, the 27 member states of the European Union, the European Commission and the ASEAN Secretariat.

 The Philippines is a founding partner of ASEM. PND

President Aquino declares November 13 as special non-working day in Pantukan, Compostela Valley in celebration of its 'Araw ng Pantukan'
 President Benigno S. Aquino III has declared November 13 which falls on a Tuesday as a special (non-working) day in the municipality of Pantukan in the province of Compostela Valley in celebration of the “Araw ng Pantukan."

 The declaration was issued by virtue of Proclamation No. 483 signed by Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. on October 4 to give the people of Pantukan the full opportunity to celebrate and participate in the occasion with appropriate ceremonies.

 November 13 marks the 76th Foundation Day of the municipality of of Pantukan.

 Pantukan was created into a municipality on November 13, 1936 through Executive Order No. 64 issued by then President Manuel L. Quezon. The town's name was derived from the names of Pantu and Kan, two powerful datus who ruled the place. PND (js)

Malacanang says Aquino government's Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino program is on track
 The Aquino goverment's Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) is on track to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, a Palace official said on Monday.

 "We maintain that the 4Ps is an investment in the best asset of the Philippines -- the Filipino people -- and that it not only provides beneficiaries with resources but also creates, in the long term, a skilled and productive citizenry," Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in a statement during the regular press briefing in Malacanang on Monday.

 Lacierda said the government and other stakeholders have taken steps to address and reduce poverty. "It is certainly not a political pulpit from which partisans preach," Lacierda noted.

 The MDGs, which are goals set by the United Nations, are eight international development targets that all 192 UN member-states and at least 23 international organizations have agreed to achieve by the year 2015.

 Aside from eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, the Millennium Development Goals include -- achieving universal primary education; promoting gender equality and empowerment of women; reducing child mortality rate; improving maternal health, combating HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases; ensuring environmental sustainability; and developing global partnership for development.

 Since President Aquino took office on June 30, 2010, the CCT or Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) has been reformed and expanded.

 "From less than a million beneficiaries before we entered office, we are now on track to cover 3.1 million by the end of this year," Lacierda said.

 While the CCT program has its critics, Lacierda said, even Junko Onishi, Social Protection Specialist of the World Bank said, “the evidence suggests that Pantawid Pamilya is on track and having impacts on the beneficiary households.”

 "Moreover, a World Bank-AusAID report stated that 4Ps can raise its beneficiaries’ incomes by 12.6 percent and “reduce overall food poverty in program areas by 5.5 percent,” Lacierda said. PND (js)

Malacanang welcomes Moody's Investors Service move upgrading credit rating for the Philippines
 The Aquino government welcomed the move of the Moody’s Investors Service which upgraded its credit rating for the Philippines.

 “We welcome the positive ratings action from Moody’s Investors Service, which upgraded the Philippines from Ba2 to Ba1—one notch below investment grade. This marks the ninth positive ratings action since President Aquino took office on June 30, 2010, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said on Monday.

 Lacierda said the "credit rating upgrade shows sustained international confidence in the Philippines under the Aquino administration, which is especially striking given a weakened global economy."

 "Indeed, this upgrade acknowledges our resilience and commends our robust responses to an increasingly challenging milieu," Lacierda said.

 "Moody’s likewise recognizes our strong macroeconomic fundamentals and the government’s efforts to enhance its fiscal space, as it continues to strive for inclusive growth—including the historic Bangsamoro Framework Agreement, which may harness the long-untapped potential of Mindanao as well as secure equitable progress for its people," he noted.

 Lacierda said the Moody’s upgrade reflects the same confidence of Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings, which have already rated the Philippines a mere step from achieving investment grade status.

 "This marks a milestone: It has been a decade since all three credit ratings agencies rated the Philippines one notch below investment grade status. Good governance is good economics," he said. PND (js)

Aquino attends 111th anniversary of the National Museum
 President Benigno S. Aquino III witnessed on Monday the formal opening of the Goverment Service Insurance Wing at the National Museum in Manila in commemoration of the museum's 111th Anniversary.

 The Chief Executive attended the 111th Anniversary of the National Museum as guest of honor held at the Old Senate Session Hall, Old Legislative Building, National Museum along Padre Burgos Avenue in Manila.

 As part of the National Museum's Founding Anniversary, the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) turned over the GSIS art works to the National Museum, paving the way for the implementation of the memorandum of agreement (MOA) signed by the pension fund and the National Museum last February.

 The President witnessed the ceremonial turn-over of a catalogue showing the GSIS Art Collection by Daniel Lacson Jr., GSIS Chairman of the Board of Trustees and Robert Vergara, GSIS President and General Manager, to Ramon R. del Rosario, Jr. Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the National Museum and Jeremy Robert M. Barns, Director of the National Museum.

 Under the agreement, the GSIS will transfer the management of its art collection to the National Museum "to preserve, maintain, secure and promote the collection". The MOA also "extends appropriate privileges and benefits to GSIS members on the use of its facilities enjoyed by other sponsors, donors and benefactors of the Museum."

 To highlight the partnership between the two institutions, the Museum has named an area within the National Gallery as the Government Service Insurance Wing. With its high ceilings and cream-colored walls, the GSIS Wing encompasses three large galleries on the Senate (Third Floor) of the National Museum, namely, Galleries XIX, XXI and XXII

 The galleries will display the famous Juan Luna's "Parisian Life" as well as the works of National Artists Fernando C. Amorsolo, Carlos "Botong" Francisco, Vicente S. Manansala, Hernando R. Ocampo, Ang Kiukok, Bencab and National Artist-Elect Federico Aguilar y Alcuaz. The list includes the works of Sanso, Blanco, Rodriguez Sr. and Galicano.

 Meanwhile, the National Museum said it is working on the declaration of the "Parisian Life" as a National Cultural Treasure through a duly-designaged Panel of Experts.

 The National Museum has a three-dimensional goal covering diverse of fields of knowledge through various educational, scientific and cultural activities. As an educational institution, the National Museum disseminates scientific and technical knowledge in more understandable and practical forms through lectures, exhibitions, interviews and publications for students and the general public.

 As a scientific institution, the National Museum conducts basic research programs combining integrated laboratory and field work in anthropology and archaeology, botany, geology, and zoology. It maintains reference collections on these disciplines and promotes scientific development in the Philippines.

 As a cultural center, the National Museum takes the lead in the study and preservation of the nation's rich artistic, historical and cultural heritage in the reconstruction and rebuilding of our nation's past and veneration of the great pioneers who helped in building our nation.

 Also in attendance were former President Fidel Valdez Ramos; Education Secretary Armin Luistro; Tourism Secretary Mon Jimenez; Manila Mayor Alfedo Lim; officials and staff of the GSIS and the National Museum. PND (js)

President Aquino bares three-part plan for the preservation of country's art and culture
 President Benigno S. Aquino III bared on Monday the government’s three-part plan to preserve the country's art and culture to increase national competitiveness.

 In his speech at the 111th Anniversary of the National Museum at the Old Senate Session Hall, Old Legislative Building along Padre Burgos Avenue in Manila, the Chief Executive underscored the need to preserve, maintain, secure and promote the country's culture and the arts which are vital to our national advancement.

 "It is through education, research, and the arts that we can achieve “total human liberation and development” as a democratic society." President Aquino said.

 The President laid out his administration’s three-part plan to preserve the country's national treasure.

 "First, to concentrate our efforts on our core competencies. I am happy to see government institutions working together to achieve efficiency, enabling each other to focus on their core mandates. The decision of the GSIS to entrust its collection of art to the National Museum is an example of this. It gives our people the opportunity to enjoy the marvels of our various heritages, while allowing the GSIS to focus more on its task," the President said.

 "Second, we are giving you the means to do your jobs. The budget increases we have given to our centers of heritage are significant. For our National Museum, we allocated 238 million pesos for 2012, which is 95 million pesos higher than your budget for 2011. And for 2013, we intend to give you 556 million pesos, so that you may carry out the necessary restorations for our historical and cultural collections," he said.

 According to the President, the government is retrofitting the National Library and studying the transfer of the National Archives to the Intendencia in Intramuros to better address the needs of the scholars.

 "Now we are gradually implementing the National Museum Plan of 1998, which will finally pave the way for the establishment of our National Museum of Natural History, not just as a showcase for the richness of our natural resources and biodiversity, but as a place of research and education to help build a more scientifically literate society," he stressed.

 The government has allocated P500 million to cover the necessary construction expenses of the museum, the President noted.

 "The third part of our plan is to empower institutions to work with our people and with each other. With the help of groups like the Philippine National Museum Foundation, which through the years has shown great support to the National Museum, we are working hand in hand to preserve our cultural artifacts and to advance the understanding and appreciation of our people for these," he said.

 He pointed out that the National Tourism Development Plan identifies the promotion of the country's culture as central in pursuing our national tourism agenda.

 "We are optimistic that, through this, more Filipinos and foreigners will be enticed to tour our country. We know that the development of our cultural program is fundamental in achieving our tourism growth target of ten million international visitors and 35.5 million domestic tourists by 2016," the President concluded. PND (js)